[The T-26 origanates from the British 6-ton Vickers Type E light tank.]



History:  In the late 1920's the Red Army was in the process of updating its armored units.  The plan was to develop a home grown design of an infantry support tank, but after a short time it was decided to mass produce the commercially available British 6-ton Vickers Type E light tank.   Soviet production of what was called the T-26A began in 1931, and the first models used a twin turret design with a 7.62mm machine gun in each turret.   This was followed by tanks with one 7.62mm and one 12.7mm gun, and then the 12.7mm was replaced with a 27mm, and shortly after, a 37mm gun.   The twin turret model was short lived though, and was replaced in 1933 by a single turret model that first used a 37mm gun, and was then upgraded to a 45mm gun.   This 1933 model was the most produced Soviet tank before 1941, with 5500 units built by 1936 when production stopped.




[This is a 1933 model.]



The next version was the 1937 model which continued to use the 45mm gun, but incorporated a new turret design with sloped sides and all welded construction.   The welded construction was also employed on the rest of the vehicle although the hull shape remained unchanged.   The last regular production version was the 1939 model that introduced sloped sides on the superstructure to match the sloped turret sides.   Along with these models, many special versions were produced; the most numerous of these were the flame-throwing vehicles like the OT-26.   There were also bridge-laying versions (ST-26), command versions (T-26-2), and even a model that mounted a 76mm gun in a BT style turret (T-26-4).




[Well over 12,000 T-26s of all versions were built.]



Besides the thin armor, the big complaint from the crews was that the turret seat was fixed in the hull, and did not turn with the turret.   Although the turret was improved, the seating never was.   Production of the T-26 series stopped entirely in 1941 when most of the factories were overrun by the Germans.   When production was resumed at newly built facilities far from the front lines, it commenced with the construction of more modern tank designs.   However by this time, well over 12,000 T-26s of all versions had been built, and were deployed in battles ranging from the Manchurian border to the Winter War in Finland, and even the Spanish Civil War, where its 45mm gun surprised the crews of the German Panzer Is that were also being tested there.   Although it was basically an unremarkable little tank that was quickly obsolete, it was a very important vehicle because it helped the Soviets strengthen their mass production facilities and methods, and gave their designers the experience to create better subsequent tank designs.




[This Italeri boxed kit is actually a Zvesda kit.] [I also used a New Connection aluminum barrel and a hypo-needle for the co-axle MG]



The Kit:  This Italeri boxed kit is actually a Zvesda kit made in Russia.   Although the hull parts were on the thick side, it didn't effect construction, and the rest of the kit was fine.   The molded detail was very good, as was the parts fit, making for a very enjoyable build.   The instructions do contain a couple of major errors that are pointed out in the MMIR build-up article (Issue 21), so consulting it or other references is suggested.   To bolster the kit, some after-market parts were used.   They included the Eduard PE set, a New Connection aluminum barrel and a hypo-needle for the co-axle MG, a Moskit metal muffler, and a set of Fruil tracks to replace the kit supplied rubber band tracks.




[The suspension and bogie trucks are beautiful] [Hidden detail]



As far as it goes, this is a very nice kit.   The suspension and bogie trucks are beautiful, even if they contain a lot of parts, and are kind of tedious to construct.   It was very easy to make them workable which made the metal tracks look even better.   What the kit does not include is any kind of interior.




[What the kit does not include is any kind of interior.] [I decided to scratch my own interior.]
[Tread plate] [Seat frame]



With all of the open space inside, and that nice big driver's hatch it sure would be nice to have some kind of an interior.   So instead of waiting for an after-market set, I decided to scratch my own interior.




[Finished] [Painted and weathered]
[Ready to seal up!] [Color and Gloss-cote]



The problem was finding any kind of reference on the vehicle interior.   All I could find were some side view cut-a-ways, which helped some, but were not very definitive.   I finally met a Russian man at AMPS that said he would check his contacts still in Russia.   A few months later, I received an email from him with photos from a Finnish IPMS publication that had some partial interior views.   Even though this didn't answer all of my questions, I pushed ahead as best I could.




[It was washed with thinned dark acrylics and dry brushed with enamels.] [Resin oil can and tarp]
[Interior framework and map case added] [An MV lense was placed in the headlamp fixture.]



Finishing:  After the interior was painted, weathered and masked off, the exterior was primed & pre-shaded with flat black, and then painted with Model Master dark green, and highlighted with Russian armor green.   It was then gloss coated, decaled, and washed with thinned dark acrylics.   The decals came from the spares box, and I think were from a DML Russian kit.   I then dull coated the model with Humbrol flat coat lacquer, and dry brushed with enamels.   Lastly, an MV lense was placed in the headlamp fixture, a Hudson & Allen chain was draped across the rear deck racks, and some stowage was added from various sources.




[The base made use of a couple of Armand Bayardi damaged trees and rocks.] [Some real rocks were also used.]



The Base:  The base was constructed using plywood, trim molding, and plaster, and also made use of a couple of Armand Bayardi damaged trees and rocks, along with some real rocks, Woodland Scenics ballast and grass, and dried vegetation from a crafts store.




[A set of Fruil tracks replaced the kit supplied rubber band tracks.]



References:

  Russian Tanks and Armored Vehicles 1917 - 1945,
  Wolfgang Fleischer, Schiffer Books, 1999

  Soviet Tanks Vol. 1 1940 - 1941,
  I. Drogowoz, Wydawnictwo Militaria, 2000

  T-26 Redeux,
  Joe Morgan, Military Miniatures in Review, No. 21,
  Ampersand Publishing, 1999




[ Hudson & Allen chain was draped across the rear deck racks, and a Moskit metal muffler was used.]



[Index]